The weather was good and the fish were pretty cooperative when we arrived at MacLaren Lodge along the Denali Highway this summer. We’d started fishing at a creek a few miles north of the lodge where we usually have success with grayling while we got everyone together for the rest of the trip.
Next day we headed out to one of the other creeks that can be reached only by boat to find more grayling just waiting for us. With a variety of dry flies, nymphs, and ants, it seemed like everyone hooked up right away. Just for the fun of it, we tempted the fish with the rubber ants as the first fly out of the fly box, and just watched them grab and grab and grab. Whether the flies were yellow, orange, and green, or white and black, it made no difference.Later we fished with mostly dry flies thanks to some intermittent hatchs. Caddis, mayflies, and other patterns were gobbled-up quickly. Czech nymph turned out to be the prize of the day whether with single or double offerings.
A different creek the next day gave us just as (if not more) success on black flies, no matter what pattern they were. Grayling are usually eager to take black caddis, and a black mayflys with a white post proved to be particular favorites by these fish as well.
Later that day we traveled down to the Tangle Lakes area for the remainder of the trip. We stay at either Tangle River Lodge or the very nice motor park near-by. The lodge has very good food (as does the Maclaren Lodge) so we were all well-fed.
Hoppers and droppers were the favorites the day until we ran out of the size 10 Royal Wulffs posing as indicators with small nymphs on the dropper.
One of my usual spots to fish was already occupied on our last day so we went to some locations that were very brushy but very productive with bead-head nymphs. Size 14 or 16 pheasant-tail nymphs were favorites at these spots.
The ride home was decorated by lots of early fall colors of yellow and orange and I felt sad that summer was almost over. There’s still silver salmon to fish for, and the rainbows gorging on the salmon eggs, so don’t despair, and don’t put your fly rods away.